How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Claim in Texas?

How long after an accident can you file a claim? That depends on the Texas personal injury statute of limitations, which tells you how long you have to file a lawsuit. So, how long after an accident can you sue? In most cases, you have until two years after a Fort Worth car accident to take legal action in the state.

However, there’s more to it than that – exceptions apply to some cases that might change the time limit. Read on for an overview of how long you have to file a car accident lawsuit in the State of Texas.

Exceptions to the Two-Year Deadline

The following exceptions apply to Texas’s two-year personal injury statute of limitations:

  • Wrongful death claims: The two-year countdown begins ticking on the date that the victim dies, not the date of the accident.
  • The victim was a child. The two-year clock doesn’t start ticking until the child turns 18 (which gives them until their 20th birthday to file a claim).
  • Fraud: The two-year statute of limitations clock stops ticking (it is “tolled”) until the victim discovers or should have discovered the fraud.
  • The victim is mentally incapacitated: The statute of limitations period is tolled until the victim regains mental capacity. Imagine a car accident that leaves the victim in a coma, for example.
  • The discovery rule. The victim does not discover their claim immediately (for example, a surgeon leaves a scalpel inside the patient’s body). The statute of limitations period is tolled until the victim learns or should have learned of their claim. There is an ultimate 10-year deadline for medical malpractice claims, however.
  • If the defendant is out of state, the statute of limitations period is tolled until they return.
  • You are suing a state or local government entity: The Texas Tort Claims Act requires you to submit a Notice of Claim before you file a lawsuit. The Notice of Claim imposes an additional deadline of 30 to 180 days after the injury. 
  • Product liability: The Texas statute of repose prevents you from filing a claim 15 to 20 years after the first sale of the product (depending on the type of product). Typically, however, you are subject to earlier deadlines as well.

Talk to your lawyer to apply the appropriate deadline.

How To Beat the Statute of Limitations Deadline

To beat the statute of limitations deadline, you have to file a lawsuit before the deadline expires. Take the following steps:

  1. File a formal complaint and summons with the clerk of the appropriate court. 
  2. Pay the applicable filing fee to the court clerk.
  3. Have a neutral third party deliver a copy of the summons and the complaint to the defendant (“service of process”).  Normally, the third party must deliver the documents in person.

Once you complete these steps, it doesn’t matter how long it takes your claim to eventually resolve. If it doesn’t resolve for another 10 years, so be it. Once you complete the above-listed steps, you’ve beaten the statute of limitations deadline.

How Long Can a Car Insurance Claim Stay Open?

Texas law subjects insurance companies to the following time frame:

  1. Acknowledgement of your claim: The insurer must acknowledge that they received your claim within 15 days. It can include a reasonable request for additional information.
  2. Investigation: Once you provide the insurance company with the information it needs, they must generally approve or deny your claim within 15 business days. Nevertheless, it can extend your claim for another 45 days if it notifies you that it needs more time to investigate.
  3. Payment: If the insurance company agrees to pay the claim, it must send payment within 5 business days after it agrees to pay the claim.

Settlement can take longer if the insurance company rejects your claim or issues a lower counteroffer. In fact, this is what usually happens, and it results in a period of offer and counteroffer. Nevertheless, most claims are resolved within a few months. 

A Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Meet Every Deadline

The statute of limitations deadline is not the only deadline you might face. Other deadlines might apply, especially if you file a lawsuit. Don’t worry about money. Since Texas personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, you only pay legal fees if you win compensation.

Contact the Car Accident Law Firm of Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers in Fort Worth for Help Today

For more information, please contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have convenient locations in Bedford and Fort Worth, Texas.

Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers – Bedford
2317 Plaza Pkwy #100,
Bedford, TX 76021

(817) 503-9200

Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth
209 N Hampton St,
Fort Worth, TX 76102

(817) 839-3143